President Vladimir V. Putin on Thursday acknowledged “mistakes” in the way the Russian government implemented its draft, a sign that the Kremlin is vying for public discontent over the attempt to escalate Putin’s war in Ukraine.
In a televised address to top security officials, Putin said the draft raised “many questions” and that “all mistakes must be corrected and prevented in the future.” . He described cases of people who were wrongfully deferred, such as fathers of three or more children, men with chronic illnesses or those over the age of enlistment.
“If a mistake is made, I repeat, it must be corrected,” he said during a video conference with his Security Council. “Those who are called up without a good reason should be sent home.”
Mr Putin’s remarks, shown on state television on Thursday evening, came after anger over the draft spilled over into street protests across Russia, including in a impoverished regions of Siberia on Thursday.
They also came the same day when the Kremlin announced it would hold a ceremony on Friday to begin taking over the four territories of Ukraine, in a widely discredited merger effort that Antony J. Blinken, except US chief, denounced as a further attempt to seize land in Ukraine.
Putin’s remarks were remarkable for a leader who rarely admits mistakes, even as he shifts responsibility for his policy failures to lower-ranking officials.
While Mr. Putin indicated when he announced the draft last week that only men with combat experience and the necessary skills would be called up, the draft turned out to be much larger, with residents of towns Small towns and villages reported that the draft offices have taken in a large portion of their stout men.
“You need to figure out all these things,” Putin said. “No fuss, calm, but fast, detailed and thorough.”